Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Major League Baseball's online entity,
MLB.TV, is a pretty solid product compared to the other major professional
But it could be so much better.
On Wednesday, we got a glimpse at just how much better it can be and likely
will be from a surprise source -- World Wrestling Entertainment.
WWE chairman and chief executive officer Vince McMahon unveiled the first-ever
24/7 streaming network that, according to most, will change the way we view
not only the way we watch sports, but television in general.
McMahon's product will not only give fans access to the company's vast video-
on-demand library, but also will include all 12 of the WWE's pay-per-view
events - including WrestleMania.
You get all that for the low price of $10. Heck, if someone would buy a PPV
like Wrestlemania, it would run them $75 for a high definition experience.
Not to mention there will be original programming on the platform that will be
streaming 24/7 and those shows will immediately go into the VOD vault upon
McMahon has always been ahead of the game when it comes to these sort of
things. You can laugh at his failed XFL all you want, but the NFL has adopted
some of his ideas, including the "sky cam." And, by the way, the NBA is wearing
jerseys on Friday that feature players' nicknames.
Does He Hate Me ring a bell?
So it's no surprise that McMahon is ahead of the curve here. He clearly had a
vision and realized that a traditional "network" wasn't the way to go. If you
want to mock him for his XFL venture, you can make the argument that he may
have been a little stubborn.
That's where Major League Baseball Advanced Media stepped in.
McMahon collaborated with the people at MLBAM and came up this incredible
over-the-top digital distribution that will be available on desktops and
laptops through the WWE website, as well as the WWE App on Amazon's Kindle
Fire devices, Android devices such as Samsung Galaxy, IOS devices such as
Apple IPad and IPhone, Roku streaming devices, Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony
PlayStation 4, and Xbox 360. Availability on additional devices, including
Xbox One and select Smart TVs, will follow this summer.
"We applaud WWE for this bold, timely and strategic move to fully optimize the
power and potential of live entertainment," said Bob Bowman, president and
CEO of MLBAM. "We are proud to work with WWE to help provide its millions of
loyal fans with unencumbered access to distinctive and engaging live content
across the devices they use most."
MLBAM distributes all of ESPN's online video, including the BCS Championship
game, and it serves up all the March Madness live games for Turner and CBS. In
other words, they know what they are doing.
Its At Bat app is as successful a sports app as there is. And thanks to the
WWE, it's going to be that much better.
MLB had always been criticized for being very strict with its videos when it
came to YouTube. If anything was put up, it was immediately removed. But, if
you can't beat them, join them. MLB finally gave in this past year and created
its own channel on the video-sharing website and allowed fans to view a wide
variety of moments from baseball's past.
Anyone want to wager a bet that the At Bat App and MLB TV essentially become
the same thing in the not-so-distant future? Just look at what WWE is doing
with its library; imagine what MLB could do.
Or any sport for that matter. If you could tell me right now that I could go
and watch old New York Jets games from the 1980s, I may never leave my house
The WWE raised the bar on Wednesday. Now it's time for the "real" sports to
try and keep up.
The Sports Network